The Value of Program Planning
  • Supports an organization's business, marketing and communications objectives
  • Sets the organization's direction
  • Based on goals and strategies
Approaches to Planning
  • Management by Objective (MBO)
    • provides focus and direction for formulating strategy to achieve specific organizational objectives
    • nine basic steps serve as a planning checklist that provide the basis for strategic planning
      • Define client/employer objectives
      • Define audience/publics
      • Define audience objectives
      • Determine effective media channels
      • Evaluate media channel objectives
      • Seek sources and draft questions
      • Determine communication strategies
      • Define the essence of the message
      • Seek or draft nonverbal (visual) support
  • A Strategic Planning Model
    • focused on clear situation analysis needed to make planning relevant to the client's overall objectives
      • Facts
        • Category facts- What are recent industry trends?
        • Product/service issues- What are the significant characteristics of the product, service, or issue?
        • Competitive facts- Who are the competitors, and what are there competitive strengths, similarities, and differences?
        • Customer facts- Who uses the product and why?
      • Goals
        • Business objectives- What are the company's business objectives? What is the time frame?
        • Role of public relations- How does public relations fit into the marketing mix?
        • Sources of new business- What sectors will produce growth?
      • Audience
        • Target audiences- What are the target audiences? What are their "hot" buttons?
        • Current mindset- How do audiences feel about the product, service or issue?
        • Desired mindset- How do we want them to feel?
      • Key message
        • Main point- What one key message must be conveyed to change or reinforce mindsets?
Elements of a Program Plan
  • Situation
    • Three situations often prompt a public relations program
      • The organization must conduct a remedial program to overcome a problem or negative situation. Ex. market share decline
      • The organization needs to conduct a specific one-time project. Ex. grand opening
      • The organization wants to reinforce an ongoing effort to preserve its reputation and public support. Ex. increase customer base
  • Objectives
    • A stated objective should be evaluated by asking:
      • Does it really address the situation?
      • Is it realistic and achievable?
      • Can success be measured in meaningful terms?
    • Objectives are informational and/or motivational
      • Informational objectives
        • expose audiences to information to increase awareness of an issue, an event, or a product through key messaging
        • difficult to measure the actual effectiveness of creating public awareness without surveying
        • awareness instead measured by counting the number of media placements
      • Motivational objectives
        • Based on measurable results that can be quantified
        • Examples include increase in products sales, a sellout crowd for an event, or expanded donations to a charitable agancy
  • Audience
    • target specific publics within the general public through market research
      • market research identifies key publics by demographics, which include age, income, social strata, education, existing ownership or consumption of specific products, and where people live
  • Strategy
    • describes how, in concept, an objective is to be achieved, providing guidlines and themes for the overall program
    • states key messages/themes to be reiterated throughout the campaign on all publicity materials
  • Tactics
    • describes, in sequence, the specific activities that put the strategies into operation and help to achieve the stated objectives
    • uses the tools of communication to reach primary and secondary audiences with key messages
  • Calendar/Timetable
    • Three aspects of timing in a program plan
      • deciding when a campaign should be conducted- the timing of a campaign
      • determining the proper sequence of activities- scheduling tactics
      • compiling a list of steps that must be completed to produce a finished product- compiling a calendar, ex. Gantt Chart
  • Budget
    • A budget can be divided into two categories
      • staff time- staff and administrative time usually take up most of the budget
      • out-of-pocket (OOP)
    • It is a good practice to allocate 10% of the budget for contingencies or unexpected costs
  • Evaluation
    • Objectives must be measurable in some way to show clients and employers that the program accomplished its purpose
    • The evaluation should restate the objectives and name the evaluation methods to be used